It's nearing the time when those of you in Year 11 will be attending interviews for college. But what some of you may not know is that you have other options. You may have briefly been told about apprenticeships in school but in today's article I'll be writing about other options for when you leave school.
Before I begin, I'd like to mention that the legal school leaving age differs between countries. For example in Wales, Scotland and Ireland you leave school at 16 and do not have to go into further education. However in England you must stay in some sort of education until you are 18.
Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Apprenticeships and traineeships work by combining studying with work. Although they have their similarities, they are slightly different. If you choose to do an apprenticeship you would be working for a company whilst studying whereas in a traineeship you would be doing work experience along with studying. With both of these you will get paid weekly for attending and doing hard work. It is a good way to gain experience whilst getting qualifications.
Now, this may sound similar to the other two but it is different and I felt like it deserved its own category. Work based training is when you train in a space that is meant to resemble a workplace. For example, if you were to study mechanics you would train in a set up garage, or if you were to study hair and beauty, you would work in a salon. With work based learning you do get paid, however it is less than what you would receive with an apprenticeship or a traineeship. Once again, it's a great way to learn and work at the same time whilst adding things to your CV.
I'm pretty sure this one is self explanatory but for those who don't know, a gap year is when you take a year away from education. This could be for several reasons, such as travelling, getting a job or just because you're unsure about what you'd like to do in college/uni. However if you do choose to take a gap year, my advice would be to try to do something with your time that will look good on your CV. It's easy to not do anything and sometimes it will feel like a long holiday - but it isn't. Do something whilst you're figuring out what you want to do in the future.
Whether you get a job whilst studying at college or decide to just jump into it straight from school, jobs are always a good way to gain experience (and money). Be wary that you may not get a decent job at first. You might find yourself working in retail or customer service, but everyone has to start somewhere. And you will get rejected, but everyone does. The more jobs you apply for, the more chances you'll have of getting one. If you apply for 10 you will only have ten chances of being hired, whereas if you apply for 100 jobs, you will have 100 chances.
Another option would be to do some volunteer work. Whether you're in full time education, taking a gap year or you have a job, volunteering is a good way to add impressive things to your CV. Volunteering doesn't have to be litter picking or spending time at a care home. There are many options of things you could do. If you're in education or have a job you could do things such as working in a charity shop on the weekends, volunteering at an animal rescue, doing community work or volunteering at local creative spots (for example, I have recently started volunteering with a local theatre). However if you're taking a gap year, you'll have more time and can do various things - including travelling and volunteering abroad.
I hope this article has given you some ideas of what you can do when you leave school aside from college. And wherever you end up, I wish you good luck!
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.